Newly hired SIU cornerbacks coach Melvin Rice headed to NIU

Newly hired SIU cornerbacks coach Melvin Rice headed to NIU

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

Cornerbacks coach Melvin Rice has accepted the same position at Northern Illinois, SIU football coach Nick Hill said Sunday.

Hill announced the addition of Rice, who was hired to the Golden Gophers staff in 2011, to SIU football in early January. 

MORE: Hill adds three former Minnesota coaches to SIU football


“For him, it’s like me coming to SIU, he played [at NIU], he was a [graduate assistant there], I didn’t even try to argue with him,” Hill said. 

Rice, who coached and played for Saluki Hall of Fame coach Jerry Kill at Northern Illinois, served “as Minnesota’s defensive quality control assistant where he [was] in charge of opponent scouting, self-scouting and the day-to-day operations on the defensive side of the ball,” according to his online biography. 

At NIU, Rice coached the defensive backs as a graduate assistant in 2010 — the year the Huskies went 11-3. Rice, who played for the Green Bay Blizzard in the Indoor Football League in 2010, coached at Chicago’s Morgan Park High School in 2009.

“[NIU coach Rod] Carey called me a while back telling me the position may open up and asked me if I was interested and I said I was,” Rice said. “Then it opened up, he offered me the position and I accepted. It was the type of opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Rice will be replacing Kelvin Sigler, who took a similar opportunity to coach at South Alabama, which is closer to his native Mobile, Ala.

Hill said with the move north, Rice would receive a pay raise and be closer to his family. He and his wife had a son in October and the move will allow him to be near them more often.

Rice said his family was still in Minnesota and will have an easier time moving to Dekalb.


Hill will not name an interim coach and safeties coach Marty Rodgers will oversee the cornerbacks for the time being. Hill said he has a shortlist of coaches he’d like to talk to, but did not disclose any names.

“It just goes to show the type of staff I put together,” Hill said. “These are in-demand guys and I’m happy he’s able to move on up through the ranks.”

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3304